That's so interesting about the poses! If you have more thoughts about it please share! I've not seen anyone else bring it up. Zayn's race really colour peoples perception of him, like he's so often seen as the opposite of how he really comes off if you pay attention, but they only seem able to stereotype him as really masculine and hyper sexual, they're not able to see the emotions in his lyrics past a sexual reference.
okay so i wrote u a manifesto by accident on the second half of ur message so im linking u to it here instead because this answer would be a mile long otherwise lmao.
as for the poses it’s super interesting isn’t it?? i was looking at the other vogue male covers and yet again i was struck by how different zayn’s cover is!!
here’s zayn cover for reference:
the most striking thing to me was that gigi is looking straight at the camera and zayn’s turned completely to the side, eyes closed. in any women’s studies class you’ll learn that men are most often full face to the camera, eyes meeting the viewers. women are usually turned, whether completely like zayn is, or a little bit like in this cover:
amanda is mostly profile whereas justin is faced fully forward and demands the viewer’s attention first. women can also be fully profile, looking off to the distance like in this cover:
victoria is looking somewhere else, her face is cut in half, but david is looking straight to the camera and you can see his entire face. this isn’t an accident, and it occurs in a large variety of magazines and shoots and ads. women are also far more likely to have their eyes closed like zayn does, because it makes them look more fragile, more delicate, more in the man’s control that they’re with like in this cover:
the man having his eyes closed is not necessarily groundbreaking though, but the fact that it’s not counterbalanced with some implied violence or blatant control is, like in this cover:
but these are all white people, so lets look at a black man that made it onto a Vogue cover and see how the portrayals change with poc. lebron is obviously a famous, talented athlete and as is expected from a media that views black men as overly violence and dominating, and athletes as well, he is portrayed aggressively and he’s portrayed with stereotypical themes like strength, power and control in this cover:
he’s hypermasculine, he’s clearly in control and dominating gisele in both of them. he’s the picture of “masculine” physicality, behavior, talents, etc. do either of those photos look like zayn’s? for comparison i used the other interesting pose from the zigi shoot here:
gigi is looking at the camera in both of these, they’re on the exact same standing level which portrays them as a united team, zayn is being gentle and intimate with her in both rather than portraying traditional masculine stoicism or domination. zayn is leaning his face into hers and disconnecting from the camera entirely. gigi’s hand in that second one is holding him to her, taking control of the hold they’re in, where the man usually would do that.
even in the photos where zayn does look at the camera directly he and gigi are still on the same standing level, he does nothing overly aggressive or stereotypically masculine and with gigi in masculine clothing (and zayn in feminine patterns and textures like the bedazzling(?) on the trims of his coat on the cover) they appear to be a team where traditional gender roles do not matter. which was the goal of the article and the shoot i think, to show that their fashion isn’t affected by gender norms, and neither is the relationship. “it’s not about gender. it’s about, like, shapes. and what feels good on you that day.” is what gigi said, and i think that applies to these photos too because they clearly portray intimacy and modeling without traditional stereotypes imposed by gender, it’s about the fashion and the artistry.